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The Week Unwrapped: DNA theft, an energy puzzle and news refuseniks

Should we take steps to guard our genetic security? Is wind power overpriced? And why are so many of us turning off the news

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

DNA security

Celebrities and world leaders are increasingly worried about what people might try to do with their DNA. Several world leaders have refused to take Russian Covid tests when they go to see Vladimir Putin. And Madonna reportedly has a cleaning crew remove all trace of her wherever she goes. Should the rest of us be equally concerned? Or at least not actively sending our DNA to ancestry databases? The business of what people could do with our DNA opens up intriguing moral and legal questions.

Energy price

As energy price rises have moved up the news agenda, the process of how prices are set has received little attention. And one element of the pricing system seems particularly bizarre: when gas prices go up, so too does the price paid for renewable energy – even though wind power is much cheaper to produce and unaffected by the war in Ukraine. Is there a better way of setting our energy price contracts?

Turning off the news

This week marked the release of the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report, which surveyed 93,000 online news consumers around the world to understand the relationship between the public and the media. The report found that almost half (46%) of those surveyed avoid the news “sometimes or often”, which is almost twice the level seen in 2016. But why are increasing numbers of people switching off the news – and what does this mean for the future of journalism?

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